Is It Just a Case of the Blues? Mental Illness in Seniors Is More Common Than You May Think!

In one’s older years, it is common to be dealing with sleeping problems, fatigue or loss of appetite. And often, they’re written off as just that. Yet for around 8 million older adults over age 65, these symptoms are suggestive of something a lot more than normal aging – they’re signs of mental illness in seniors. And only a small number are getting the available treatment which could substantially enhance their overall quality of life. Read more

Comprehensive Home Care’s Tips on Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

While abusing a senior is something that would never even occur to most people, it’s a tragically common occurrence in the U.S.Elder abuse occurs in many forms, from physical to emotional, and it affects the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Because elder abuse is often a silent problem, it’s essential for families and friends of seniors to be aware of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse in order to protect their senior loved ones. Our respite care Charlotte, NC based experts have compiled some of the warning signs that may indicate elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Signs of injury like bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they appear symmetrically on two sides of the body
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Drug overdoses or regularly missed medications
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Signs of being restrained, such as red marks or bruises on the wrists
  • Caregivers refusing to allow the senior to be seen alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling behavior from the caregiver, such as:
  • Yelling at or threatening the senior
  • Humiliating or ridiculing the senior
  • Ignoring the senior
  • Isolating the senior from friends and family
  • Behavior that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself

Neglect:

  • Unhealthy weight loss or malnutrition
  • Physical problems, such as bed sores, that have not been treated
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Unsafe living conditions (no heat or running water; faulty electrical wiring, other fire hazards)
  • Desertion of the senior at a public place

The early signs of elder abuse may be difficult to recognize and may appear to be symptoms of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Alternatively, a caregiver who is abusing the senior may explain signs of abuse away. To help prevent abuse, make a point to call and visit senior loved ones often and be on the lookout for any changes in the senior’s personality or behavior. If any signs of elder abuse are witnessed or suspected, they should be reported immediately.

Comprehensive Home Care’s Charlotte, NC respite care services can help families keep senior loved ones safe, happy, and healthy. As the top-rated home care agency in the Charlotte area, we can provide in-home care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and services for people with disabilities to ensure that seniors are safe and well cared for. Contact us at 704-333-5214 for a professional assessment to learn how we can help your senior loved one.

Is Your Senior Loved One at Risk for Elder Abuse?

Helping seniors stay healthy, happy and independent is the goal of not only our Charlotte NC senior care professionals, but of every family caregiver who has ever assisted a loved one. Because the health and happiness of seniors is so important to us, it’s essential that we discuss something that can be difficult for many of us to even think about – elder abuse.

The CDC estimates that around 500,000 older adults are abused or neglected every year in the U.S. However, many more elder abuse cases are believed to go unreported each year, which is why it’s important for family members to be aware of potential abuse risks.

The following are some of the risk factors associated with elder abuse:

  • Dependency on others: Seniors who are dependent on others for care are often reluctant to speak up about any abuse because they may feel unsafe or that their care needs won’t be able to be met by someone else if the abuser is reported.
  • Decreased physical health and mobility: Dementia, Alzheimer’s or other disabilities may raise an elder’s risk of being abused because he or she may not be capable of explaining or verbalizing the abuse.
  • History of abuse: If the senior was abusive as a parent, there is an increased risk for elder abuse, particularly if an adult child who was abused by the senior is the primary caregiver.
  • Social isolation: Social isolation often results when a senior loses a spouse or lives at a distance from family and friends, and it can create the perfect environment for elder abuse. Abusers often try to keep seniors isolated by:
    • Refusing to apply for economic aid or services
    • Resisting outside help
    • Changing social and healthcare providers frequently to make it difficult to assess the senior’s health status
    • Controlling contact with the elder
  • Family caregiver stress or burnout: Overwhelmed caregivers can become depressed and stressed, causing them to lash out at the seniors in their care.

If you have a loved one who is being cared for by a family member or other caregiver, be mindful of these risk factors, call or visit as often as possible to assess the senior’s health, and play an active role in his or her care.

At Comprehensive Home Care, we understand how important your loved one’s health and safety are, and we take the right steps to ensure we provide the best care. Each member of our Charlotte NC senior care team has passed a thorough background check, reference checks, and an in-depth personal interviewto ensure they meet our high care standards. And all of our caregivers are licensed certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in good standing in the state of North Carolina, which means your loved one is in capable, experienced hands. Contact us today to learn more about our Charlotte home care services.

The Latest in Helping Elderly Parents Avoid Phone Scams

Phone scams geared toward the elderly are nothing new, with an astonishing $36 billion lost each year to financial abuse. And the latest senior con circulating is difficult for most seniors to detect until it’s too late, and helping elderly parents get back money lost isn’t an option. Center for Elder Law and Justice attorney Nicole K. Parshall explains, “There is always a new variation of a phone scam. Scammers are very good at developing new tactics in order to engage with specific types of individuals.” Read more

Is It Okay to Lie to Someone with Dementia?

At an early age, we learn the tale of George Washington’s mishap with the cherry tree and his bold admittance to his parents, “I cannot tell a lie; I chopped down the cherry tree!” Truthfulness is integrated within our character, and even telling a little white lie can wrack us with guilt. But could it sometimes be advantageous to fib when chatting with a family member with dementia? Read more

Caring for Older Parents? Ask These Questions First Before They Move in

Probably the most noble and admirable decision adult children will make is to open up their house to an aging parent. Our parents raised and took care of us when we needed help and support, so it seems like a no-brainer to return the favor when it becomes unsafe for Mom or Dad to live alone. But there are a number of considerations to take into account before taking this step. Comprehensive Home Care outlines a number of the key questions to think about when caring for older parents and considering having them move into your home: Read more

Charlotte Home Health Experts Share Tips to Avoid Common Parkinson’s Complications

Many seniors with Parkinson’s disease receive the largest part of their care at home from loved ones, especially during the early stages of the disease. As a professional Charlotte home health care agency, we at Comprehensive Home Care understand the unique concerns experienced by family members who provide care for a senior with Parkinson’s, and want you to know you’re not alone! We’re always available to provide recommendations and to partner with you in ensuring your loved one receives the highest quality care at all times. 

To begin with, it’s helpful to keep these Parkinson’s-specific tips in mind: 

Nutrition: A healthy diet helps reduce cell loss in a person with Parkinson’s. Consuming antioxidants, such as those found in green tea, blueberries, broccoli, spinach, beans, and certain types of nuts, can help fight against oxidative stress. 

Chewing and Swallowing: Those with Parkinson’s commonly have some level of difficulty with chewing and swallowing. Each person caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s needs to learn the Heimlich maneuver to be prepared in case the person begins to choke. 

Preventing Falls: Seniors with Parkinson’s often have trouble with walking and balance, so it’s crucial to assess the home surroundings and make modifications to reduce the risk of falls. Installing items like customized toilet seats and grab bars where appropriate, and removing obstacles in and around the home is a great place to begin. 

Anxiety/Depression: Reducing the risk for depression and anxiety is a main factor in the battle against Parkinson’s. Keep a close eye on your loved one for signs of depression, and if noticed, make sure he or she sees the doctor for help as soon as possible. 

Medications: Parkinson’s treatments may have a number of side effects, and can affect the person in a variety of different ways. Some types of medication can cause hallucinations or nightmares, for example. Be sure your loved one’s doctor advises you about any anticipated side effects of medications so you can be prepared.  

We invite you to explore Comprehensive Home Care’s Charlotte home health care services to discover how respite care can lead to a better quality of life for both your loved one and the family members who are providing care. By partnering with our professional Charlotte home health care team to assist with some of the more routine aspects of caregiving, family members have the opportunity to spend more quality time together. Contact us at 704-333-5214 to learn more. 

Is Elderly Hoarding Impacting Your Senior Loved One? Here’s How to Help.

Do you have a loved one who struggles with elderly hoarding? Is this situation becoming increasingly difficult to manage? Are you concerned?

Pathological or compulsive hoarding, officially known as disposophobia, is much more than just collecting or living with clutter. It’s the excessive gathering of objects, regardless of whether these objects have any value or use. The idea of giving away or throwing away any of the items, even trash, results in great stress.

Elderly hoarding causes several problems. Too many objects in a senior’s living space can cause problems with hygiene – both in the home itself and with personal hygiene if cleaning facilities are blocked. Extreme clutter can lead to social isolation, due to the person’s embarrassment about the state of the home and his or her inability to clean up sufficiently to go out. And the clutter can also be a serious safety hazard. Clutter can result in falls, destroy home foundations, and block exits in the event of an emergency.

Helping someone who struggles with elderly hoarding can be difficult. Those who hoard place an extreme amount of value on their possessions, no matter how worthless they may appear to be to others. Clearing anything away can be overwhelmingly painful.

If you have a loved one whom you feel is struggling with elderly hoarding, the tips below may help to get things under control:

Try not to judge the person. It may be difficult, but if your senior loved one doesn’t feel judged, he or she may be more likely to work with you. Avoid statements such as “What a mess!” or “How can you possibly live like this?”

Use upbeat language. If you see any improvements at all, no matter how slight, such as a path from one room to another that is wider than it was before, congratulate the senior on trying to make things safer. If you notice a trash bag with trash to go out, let your loved one know that this is wonderful progress. Whenever there is something to praise, do so: “I can imagine how hard it was to fill that trash bag. I’m so happy you were able to do that.” You can also point out the nice things in the home, such as a beautiful painting, or an unusual decoration.

Never argue. Seniors who hoard have their reasons, and arguing usually results in them shutting down the conversation. You don’t have to agree with what the person says, but by arguing, he or she may feel the need to become defensive, pushing further away from a solution. If an argument is ensuing, it may be time to take a walk around the block or call it a day.

Understand that some things are just too important for your loved one to part with. When cleaning out a home, it’s important to remember that not everything has to go. We all have certain items that are dear to us. Recognize and acknowledge this.

Comprehensive Home Care’s North Carolina home care experts have seen what hoarding can do and our experienced caregivers know how to help. As the top-rated home care agency in the Charlotte area, we can provide in-home care services, including friendly companionship to help seniors feel accepted and socially involved. Contact us at 704-333-5214 for a professional assessment to learn how we can help your senior loved one.

Planning a Family Meeting to Discuss Home Care

Home care is oftentimes used to provide the care of a loved one whom is unable to fully provide for themselves, yet still stable and mentally sound enough to be at home and out of the nursing home. For many people this type of care provides far greater happiness and prolongs their lifetime and that is just the start of the exciting benefits. Even still there are drawbacks that must be considered if this is a method of care that you are considering. Before deciding if home care is the right option for your loved one it is important to plan a family meeting with the immediate members of your family. This is a big decision that you’re making and everyone should be able to voice their thoughts, concerns and hopes freely, with one another’s opinions taken into careful consideration of the final decision.

 

Preparing for a Family Meeting

When preparing for your family meeting make sure that you inform family members as far in advance as possible. Everyone’s schedules differ, and sometimes it can be difficult to find a time when everyone is able to come together. When informing family members of the meeting you should plan for a two -hour time slot, although it might take slightly less time. You can achieve this feat, however, by planning in advance. Once a time has been arranged when everyone can get together, choose a location for the meeting. If your home is large enough this is perfectly fine. It should be cozy and comfy so everyone is able to talk openly. Make sure that the loved one being considered for home care is present during the meeting. After all, it is him or her that will be receiving the care, thus their say so really matters the most. Also, the home care agency caregiver or staff member should be present to help you learn more about the service and the different  options available to you.

 

Things to Discuss at the Family Meeting

Several things should be discussed at the family meeting. First is the cost. Insurance will usually not cover the costs of this type of care so it is the responsibility of the family (and other loved ones) to cover the fees. Consider how you will pay, how much each person can put forth, etc. Also take into consideration during your meeting:

  • How long/often will you require home care for your loved one? You can arrange services for part-time or full-time, or on as –needed basis.
  • Is your loved one still capable of partially caring for themselves? Patients who are best-suited for in-home services are those who still have such capabilities.
  • Discuss with the caregiver the needs of your loved ones. Caregivers can provide a little or they can provide a lot, depending upon your needs. You should ensure that you discuss this; however, to ensure the chosen agency is capable of handling those needs. Not all agencies provide the same levels of care.
  • Give each family member time to ask their own questions as they arise

Comprehensive Home Care is a leading home care provider, offering home care, Alzheimer’s care and respite care Charlotte services. Contact us with any questions or care needs.

 

 

Benefits of Laughter in Senior Care in Charlotte NC

As we grow older learning and recall abilities become further degraded. It, therefore, becomes essential to practice memory enhancing techniques. Cortisol a stress hormone has been blamed for degraded recall abilities among the elderly. Research on the effect of humor on the memory capabilities of the elderly has yielded positive findings. The research findings on a recent study in Loma Linda University in California indicate that it is possible to improve the memory of the elderly by maintaining a humorous mood. This has created useful insight in senior care in Charlotte NC, to ensure seniors have a great time while maintaining their health also.

How Laughter Works to Improve Senior Care in Charlotte NC

Laughter is vital in reducing the level of cortisol hormones in the brain and thus relieves stress. This enables senior society members to be able to recall fun and memorable moments in their lives. Laughter raises dopamine and endorphins levels in the brain and thus creates a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction that further enhances the general emotional wellbeing of the elderly. This effectively raises the quality of life of these individuals and can be vital in improving their attitude to life among others.

Healthwise, laughter is vital in improving the general wellbeing of seniors. When incorporated in senior care in Charlotte NC laughter can have essential health benefits. Laughter increases heart rate and enhances blood circulation this is beneficial for better oxygen intake. These health effects have been linked with a reduction in the risk of heart attacks and stroke.  

Laughter and humor have also been found to lengthen the lives of the elderly. A study conducted in Norway at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology showed that developing a sense of humor over several years can have a positive effect in the general well-being of elderly individuals and thus lower the mortality rate. This is a useful fact when it comes to effective senior care in Charlotte NC that promotes better care for the elderly by developing a warm environment for important health gains. 

Research in Australia on the effect of laughter on the emotional and physical wellbeing of seniors suffering from chronic conditions further emphasize the importance of humor in senior care in Charlotte NC. The findings indicate that those exposed to humor for up to 12 weeks were in a better emotional condition for up to 26 weeks later. 

While it is important to create a humorous environment around the elderly to harness the health benefits associated with laughter; it is important to ensure that the jokes are positive and clean. Sarcastic jokes may be negative and at times misunderstood. This would be counterproductive. Comprehensive Home Care caregivers appreciate how important humor is to the health status of seniors and appreciates that care should be taken in this endeavor.

Steps to Avoid Accidental Falls

The elderly are prone to falling and hurting themselves. This is especially true in the case of seniors living on their own or with children who are away most of the day. To ensure that you do not fall and hurt yourself when alone, consider the following tips.

Be Careful at All Times

Older people fall due to different reasons, including poor eye sight or even improper balance. If you suffer from these issues, the first thing you should learn is to take your time to get up from your chair or your bed. Moreover, you can use a walker to make sure that you remain steady while moving around.

Consider Changing Your Medications

It is possible that some of the medicines prescribed to you may cause drowsiness. This can be avoided by speaking with your doctor so that he or she can prescribe a replacement that does not come with such side effects.

Keep Your Room Clutter-Free  

Ensuring that your room is well organized is an excellent way to reduce your chances of falling. In addition, make sure that the stairs are obstacle free and get rid of all loose rugs around your home. 

Keep Your Home Well Lit

Dark areas tend to hide obstacles and make it difficult to navigate. Therefore, you should ensure that your home has proper lighting. Also place a torch or lamp within reach so that you do not have to walk around in the dark. 

Keep Things within Your Reach

If you are having trouble reaching stuff within your home, it is about time that you start making some drastic changes. If things are not within your reach, make them so. Put things in lower shelves and install hand rails and grab bars. These will ensure that you do not end up hurting yourself or worrying those who love and care for you.

Now that you know the most important measures to prevent a fall, you should not wait for a catastrophe to knock at your door. Follow these tips right away and enjoy your independence while putting your loved ones at ease. 

Comprehensive Home Care is a leading home care provider. We provide home care and respite care Charlotte services for seniors and their loved ones.